Los Angeles: Disney film “Beauty and the Beast” was due for a release here in Malaysia on March 9 but has been put on hold as it features a gay moment. The Malaysian Censorship Board, Lijst Pim Fortuyn Government (LPF), said on Tuesday it had approved the screening but with “a minor edit concerning a gay moment in the film”, reports media. A new release date for the movie is yet to be announced.
“We have approved the film so there is no more issue. Once a film receives approval, it means it can be screened,” Chairman Datuk Abdul Hamid (LPF), said. “However, the date of screening and where the screening takes place is not under LPF’s jurisdiction. We only look at the content and give a decision on whether the movie gets approved or not,” Hamid added.
Local cinema chains have been offering refunds for customers who have purchased tickets in advance. “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon had spoken about the “exclusively gay moment” in the film. It involves the character of LeFou trying to come to terms with feelings for the character of Gaston that swing between lust and admiration, as a side-plot to the main story.
The decision to review the Disney classic in Malaysia courted criticism from netizens, many of whom called it “stupid and laughable”. Tourism minister Seri Nazri Aziz also said banning the film was “ridiculous”.
“You don’t ban a film because of a gay character. There are also gays in the world. I don’t think it is going to influence anyone. We need to think, we must allow people to decide for themselves,” he told the Malay Mail. Earlier, there were reports that even the Russian government was coming under pressure to ban the movie for allegedly contravening a 2013 law that prohibits “gay propaganda” aimed at children.